Join us on Thursday, December 2nd at 3pm EST to get the latest update on Omicron, the OSHA ETS, and what employers can do now to prepare for the holiday surge.
Need more info before Thursday? Check out our latest blog post on Omicron, covering what we know today and what you can do to help prevent outbreaks.
This depends on your risk level, where you’re headed, and why, but we definitely think it’s time to think seriously about whether it makes sense to travel internationally right now, especially if it’s to a place with rising case counts. This has just as much to do with the high case counts as it does with the new variant, but there’s no denying that COVID is surging across the globe right now. If you do travel, we recommend testing early and often, and having a solid plan for what you’ll do if you test positive at any point during your trip. Travel restrictions are changing very rapidly, so it’ll be important to keep an eye on any requirements and restrictions, too. It’s also definitely a good idea to get your booster dose and your flu shot before you travel!
Start the contact tracing from 48 hours before the sick employee’s symptoms started. Even though they had a few negative tests, the chances that their symptoms are unrelated to their COVID infection are incredibly small. Assume they were infectious from 48 hours before those symptoms started, despite those negative tests. Unfortunately, in a case like this, that means excluding anyone who had close contact Saturday through Thursday. This highlights that it’s incredibly important to make sure that sick employees stay home while they have symptoms, even if they test negative for COVID initially. While testing is improving, it’s not foolproof. You can avoid excluding a lot of employees if you ensure that those who feel sick aren’t coming into work.
It’s incredibly unfortunate, but we always see an uptick in presenteeism (AKA coming to work sick) during the lead up to the holidays. Employees need the money in December, and sometimes have planned time off to spend with family, which means they feel the pressure not to miss work in the days and weeks leading up to the holidays. Now more than ever is the right time to encourage employees to stay home when sick, reiterate to managers that it’s their role to keep sick employees from working, and even to take a look at your sick leave policies. We see clearly that our clients with paid sick leave have fewer instances of employees working sick.
Not unless they have symptoms of their own. If the employee is symptom free and fully vaccinated, the current CDC guidelines allow them to work, though they should be fully masked for 14 days. CDC guidelines recommend a test between days 5-7 after initial exposure (though in this case the exposure is ongoing), and if the employee tests negative, they can work without a mask. While recommending a test is a great idea since it might catch an asymptomatic COVID case, we’ll leave that up to you and your legal team, but we do recommend requiring the mask for the full 14 days to keep it simple and reduce risk. If at any point the exposed employee develops symptoms, even if fully vaccinated, they should stay home for 10 days.